Funding could improve affordable housing

The largest emergency housing provider in York Region will receive federal funding for a project that could open the door to improved affordable housing.

Blue Door Support Services’ project, Journey to a York Region Community Housing Land Trust, will receive $213,000 to demonstrate how to implement a community land trust solution that’s currently in operation in Toronto in York Region.

The 2021 open call competition targeted one specific area of high potential impact: Community Land Trusts (CLTs) and Land Assembly solutions that might ensure greater availability and access to land for affordable housing. The 16 successful submissions will each receive funding from $100,000 to $250,000 from the National Housing Strategy (NHS) Demonstrations Initiative.

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home,” says Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion and Minister Responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Ahmed Hussen. “Increasing the supply of land for affordable housing requires innovative and disruptive thinking. The Demonstrations Initiative showcases the best new ideas ensuring that these can be repeated and scaled from coast to coast to coast.”

A CLT is a private non-profit corporation created to acquire and hold land for the benefit of a community and provide secure affordable access to land and housing for community residents.  It can be sector-led or community-led. Land assembly solutions are models or approaches for acquiring, holding and managing land for affordable housing developments for the benefit of local community.

The selected projects provide a diverse portfolio of CLT/Land Assembly solutions addressing the specific needs of NHS population groups, such as Indigenous populations, women and children fleeing domestic violence, people with a disability or mental illness, people experiencing homelessness and Northerners.

Blue Door was founded in 1982 and provides emergency housing for people who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. It operates three facilities in York Region: Kevin’s Place for male youth in Newmarket, Porter Place for adult men in East Gwillimbury and Leeder Place for families in Holland Landing. It recently teamed up with Parks Canada to transform an unused building in Markham into a home for vulnerable families for up to one year.

Parks Canada worked with Blue Door in Rouge National Urban Park last summer to refurbish a park house in the Markham area of the park. Photo courtesy of Blue Door.

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